Sunday, 18 April 2021

The Gordon's Square

Before the last convention - seems so long ago - I was given a bunch of Victrix Napoleonic era Highlanders so had gathered enough for a sizeable contingent.  As we were doing a Waterloo cavalry clash scenario I thought a square of infantry, or as it turned out a half-square, would be a good 'ground-filler' and obstruction for the swirling masses of cavalrymen.  I tacked these upon a chevron shaped board and had them in the battle.  However it seemed that most ignored them entirely, including myself apparently as I took no photos of them on the table! None. hmm. 

Fast forward to the recent days when I was playing around with the groups of miscellaneous "petal" bases a gaming buddy and entrepreneur had cut for me as samples ( as I am planning to order more in the near future!). 

3D-DZYN website for these bases and other good stuff.

I started arranging these and found that all the various 20mm rounds could be set up as a two-deep alignment and long enough to form part of a square formation, essential for facing a cavalry attack.  In this case, the rest of the square can be imagined off-table.

Of course the groups of bases can be placed in a line for those big-battalion games.

I would have liked more 'fill' in the square's centre (dead, wounded etc) but the piper keeping up the boy's spirits, plays his part.

French Cuirassier charge past

A couple of the lads show their contempt of the French efforts (old Westphalian Miniatures "rude Highlander" figures) 

If you look closely you can see the various groups of rounds.  I love the look as they do appear individual but can be moved as groups - good for aging wrists! See the link in the text for Ron's offerings. Added the dice frame on the Colours stand just in case it is needed in future games

Friday, 2 April 2021

silly old me...

Well, for those who are strictly Horse and Musket fans, my first post today was a War of 1812/ACW style battle.  While I intended to space things out a bit and post a solo WW2 engagement later, I guess I hit the wrong button and posted it also today.

Another Wandering Matilda

Once again an Australian Matilda tank finds itself alone in a Japanese village in 1946 (see previous post:  link  )

The Japanese (me, playing solo) planned a coordinated three sided attack by “lunge-mine” soldiers while the Japanese sniper would force the tank commander to button up making acquisition of his compatriots more difficult.  “Ieko” one of the Japanese attackers would be stationed in the temple and ring the bell within to indicate the tank has gone beyond the building commencing the attacks.

"Village of Machikoro, 1946"

The Australian tank commander now realizing his infantry support was, well, not in support, had no intention to blithely move thru the village [ and I rolled no Move Dice! ]  While looking about above the hatch, he ordered his gunner to shoot into the nearest building. [ I did roll the appropriate dice so he could do that!]  

“THAT should bring out any skulkers!” 

Ieko, observing through a slit in the window covering, noted the turret gun turn in his direction.  He rang the bell and took cover!

Teppo, the sniper, took a position around the corner of the building and fired. But to no effect. the Tank commander did not become aware he was being shot at.  Kenso, seeing the tank stop well outside a distance he could be expected to run (and that in front of the tank! ) decided to make his way thru the paddies to a position to the flank or rear of the tank.  

Editor note: For these games, I take the situation the miniature has at hand and try to make a logical and prudent decision of action before rolling its Command Dice.  This decision is often negated as the dice do not allow such, so I go with what the dice can allow. In this case I rolled three Move Dice and having no need of a Wild Die, also turned that into his run.  As the distance to the tank was considerable  so he went the other direction.  But of course the rolls I made for the distance would have had him safely to the tanks glacis and into the attack!  But that is 20/20 hindsight!

Ieko in the damaged building was immobile with shock (I rolled no Move dice for him) 

Meanwhile, the hull gunner was alert and spotted Teppo the sniper and opened up with his hull MG.  Poor Teppo was shredded with bullets as the main gun was reloaded.

Ichiro, crouching around the building’s corner having seen Teppo become chopped suey decided to move the OTHER way to in behind the now ruined temple. However with the dust of the explosion he too had no idea of the tank’s position [ no acquisition dice were rolled] 

The commander still ‘unbuttoned’ with his head above the hatch, demanded “Gunner, fire at the next building where the body is”.   “Ah, the damned *** again!” was the reply.  No shot could be taken.  “Move ahead” the CO allowed.  “There’s a bugger. Turn right and take him” as the tank had acquired Ichiro. But perhaps slowed by some building debris (?) but the tank could only go a very short three inches.  [ I had rolled a paltry 3 on two dice!!]

Meanwhile…. in his fast pace, Kenso had gone beyond a 90 degree visual range of the tank and so failed to see it move off away from him.  However, Ieko recovered and had a chance for an attack.  My roll for the Japanese soldier was 1,1,2,3,4,4 meaning he could Move 1D, Move another 1D, Acquire the tank, Aim ("ready himself") and Fire (press the lunge mine detonator against the tank).  It is lucky he had two Move dice as I rolled two 1s but as the tank was literally at his door step….For his life , he caused one permanent and one temporary damage to the hard shell of the Matilda. 

Immediately after Ichiro plunged his weapon against the frontal glacis of the tank. The explosion blew the commander out through the open hatch and destroyed his tank….the extra strike dice from being ‘unbuttoned’ proved fatal.  

Ichiro would turn to deliver his attack on the tank while the temple continues to smoulder

Cedar Creek - War of 1812 style

Solo play 28mm War of 1812 scenario “inspired by” [as Hollywood likes to state] the ACW battle of Cedar Creek.

 The early morning attack by the British/Confederate commander did not have the desired effect of the surprise and disorder of the numerous defending Americans/Union forces.   To simulate this potential disorder each American unit was given the number of disorder points equal to a d6 roll.  These disorder points could be quite inhibiting of combat and morale but true to my usual form, my rolling for this was low and so little disorder was shown in the American ranks. 

One of the most effected units was the large 9th US Regiment with four points of disorder (shown as ‘cannonballs’ in the following photo) and as it retreated back, threatened to crash into the second line of the 28th and 22nd US Regiments.  However a high roll for it’s “orders” allowed them to hold and start to regain its composure and prevented a rupture of the American centre.  

Nearby the 25th US engaged in a prolonged firefight with the deWatteville British Line Regiment (‘Swiss’) 

Note "the metal nut marker" lower right of the frame.  I improvised an indication of a locked combat should I need to come back to the game at a future time.  Will be making a better version(s) in the future. The 'cannonballs' indicate disorder points.

The other ‘Swiss’ regiment employed in Canada during the War of 1812, deMeuron, while decisively pushing back the 11th US in the middle, had been recovering from the effort and could not exploit the gap created. The remarkable firefight between the deWatteville and 25th US units had both units hors de combat.  The attack in the center had stalled. 

To the south, the  Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada could not hold again the counterattack of the much larger 21st US and fell back through the Upper Canada Militia following up across the creek.  The disordered militia also now fell back.  This attack had failed.

The red-coated IMUC facing the much larger U.S. Regiment.

The Upper Canada Militia 

The British commander (also me!) having placed British success (as did the original Confederate commander) upon the surprise attack against superior numbers and having his attacks quickly dissipate, ordered the withdrawal.

Finally got some of the collection on the table again.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Armour Rescue - WaT game


I really like this pic of WillB's "Cyclops" crossing my new bridge - see previous post-

Another fun battle of “What a Tanker!”  armour combat rules with WillB providing his collection of Sicily-appropriate Canadian tanks and a few German opposition.  I provided the terrain (probably more desert than Sicily but that is all I had Italian…) and, of course, using my new bridge. That did not surprise WillB.  The scenario was a ‘rescue’ of a immobile Valentine but functioning “Harry” by the intrepid C Troop of Canadians consisting of Shermans “Chief”, “Cyclops”, “Corvette” (a Firefly with a 17 lb) and “Cobault”.  Against these Allies were a PaK 35 waiting behind a stonewall, a Beutepanzer StuG M42 / Semovente 75/18, and, well, a big bad Tiger I. 

The battlefield with the PaK35 fifth in line to activate and WillB's tanks in the far corner.  "Harry" the track-missing Valentine is off-camera to the left and the Semovente to the right near the foremost clump of rocks.

C troop after 'Cobault' (left) was brewed by the Tiger.

WillB’s troop had a bit of rough time of it as the scenario had them bunched together and needing to crossing the bridge.  After the usual fits and starts and stops of WaT, the Valentine was destroyed and my Tiger finally took out a Sherman (poor “Cobault”) but “Cyclops” proved to be the star crew as it took out the PaK 35 (squish!) and distracted the Tiger.  At one point, I had positioned the Tiger for a nice close flank shot on the Sherman but had not the dice (yet) to shoot.  But “Cyclops” was in a position that, if it got initiative first, to move behind the Cat. The Kitty did not get to go first and so lost sight of the Sherman.  It was not “Cyclops” in the rear but “Corvette” and its powerful 17lb which took out the German beast.  That left the crew of the Semovente to call it a day and depart thus giving the area to the Canadians. 

The low profile Semovente tank-destroyer hull down on the hill was a hard target to hit

"Cyclops" (lower left) on the move to deal with the PaK. The other Shermans offer support.

just after 'Cyclops' moved behind the German Kitty which was unable to respond effectively and would be shortly shot....

.... and destroyed by the 17lb.   Yes, I was still "unbuttoned" but WillB had way more hits than I had armor saves! The extra had got did not matter....

"What a Tanker!" is an easy, fun game.  OK, it can be frustrating at times:

Yes, that was one of my command rolls!! For WaT it means I can REALLY aim but little else.

but of what I read and have learnt of tank combat, it is not far off the mark if you add a bit of narrative into each turn of play.  Things happen, things get FUBAR'd, commands are misunderstood, etc, etc. all this in a span of actually only several minutes of combat.  It has scratched my WW2 need in any case.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Just 'spruesing' around

 Inspired by videos on clever uses of left-over, ready for the rubbish bin, throw away plastic sprue frames after removing all the possible useful bits, I gave it a quick thought and came up with using sections as iron beams in construction of a bridge. 

My newly made “iron” bridge.  Scratch built (obviously!!) 

All the girders?, joists?, umm, the ah?…well, the iron bits anyway…. are cut from discarded plastic sprue frames and the bolts/nuts are thin sections of unused plastic medieval spears.  Note the use of “discarded”, “unused”.  While I might say it is to see what creative uses can be made from scrap, one could also say that I be just too cheap to get a good model.  But then, I can say that I had good fun for only a few pennies of cost.

The photos show some of the construction.  The length of the bridge was limited by the longest frame available.  I was not willing to try to shave down all the nobbly-nibbly bits  (see his YouTube vids for more ideas: youtube link   )  as this would compromise their widths and thus construction - and frankly a real pain in the *blank* to do!  So only certain lengths could be used.  Also, only half way through the cutting did I notice that the outer frame and inner connecting sprues could be different widths.  Hmm. 

The construction was done for effect and certainly not to any engineering specification.  It is sort of a cross between Bailey Bridge, a Tress Construction, and an Iron Girder form.  Civil engineers might have a chuckle but it does bear the weight of a tank, so it can’t be that poor a design! 

the napkin might be there to soak up any blood from cuts. Went unused ...this time.

Like the news anchor who is all suit-and-tie above the desk, but out of sight of the television camera is wearing comfortable sweatpants beneath, I don’t usually bother about painting that which is not normally seen.  But the following photo does show my use of discarded sprues.

I hesitated about using the rather glossy and very non-military green plastic primer but managed to cover with a dry brush of a lighter matt color then matt varnished (twice!).

The deck was made by using wooden coffee stir sticks on a card backing.  I used PVA/white  glue down the middle and a slow settling epoxy along the edges;  an idea to limit warping.  While it worked, I used too much PVA which, once touching the top surface of the wood would not take any staining, and the epoxy seeped through to the surface creating a yellowish stain.  Well, darn.   So I just used some earth-coloured paint and covered up the stains and dry-brushed some tread wear on the surface.  Quick and easy and looks OK-ish.  I think of it as a newly built bridge so not much wear on it yet.

The width of the model is about 7.5cm or 3 inches, wide enough anyway to take a 1:56 tank

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Three very different Napoleonics

When one thinks "Napoleonic" warfare the huge battle comes to mind. But of course one can do smaller engagements also. Different style of basing and sizing for different warfare.

My skirmish level Napoleonics has units in small groups of 6 or 12 using currently the rules "Rebels and Patriots" (yes, yes, designed for American wars but really suitable for any Horse and Musket era) 

The latest unit for any skirmish actions are the Brunswick Advantgarde Jagers of the Waterloo Campaign.  Created from only two poses of the original Perry ACW plastics box,  I did some minor scraping, chopped off heads, glued on some arms and added the Corhut style headwear.  With the pike-grey uniform color, the ACW look is hopefully less obvious.

Next unit completed (actually, I just added to it) is the 13th Foot, ex from the Caribbean thus the white shakos.  They were given the standard black ones within a short time after arrival in Canada for the War of 1812, but that shan't deter me from painting up such a distinctive unit.  I use units such as this for the "big battalion" games/rules ('Black Powder' is a better known of these) with units utilizing 24-36 or more figures in each.

Finally we have an example of the "big battle" unit.  . Each element is a representation of a brigade of troops. Yes, we do use a high ratio of figures! 10 = 2500 or so.  Past posts of our large Napoleonic battles will see that on the table this actually works visually also even with 28mm. 

This one recently painted, represents the French National Guard of 1814 After years of massive losses, The French state/Napoleon, was reaching very deep in the conscription pool and young boys and civilians were called up to contribute mostly without uniforms or equipment.  These examples are from Old Glory's 1812 American militia pack which look to wear the common French blouse.  I have replaced with a spare shako or forage cap which might have been the only vestige of military dress they wore.  In the rear are two in baker's smocks made famous from actions in the 1814 campaign for France.  Based for our rules, which are similar to 'Blucher'.  

from F.-G. Hourtroulle's '1814'

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Battle of Bunker Hill, War of 1812 style

“Sir, the American militia have occupied the heights on Breed’s Hill and have fortified that position”

“Again?! almost 4 decades later?” the British General Howe III decried. “Well let’s do it once more!”

Playing solo with rules I have created for my own benefit, I amended the scenario of this famous historical battle slightly by having naturally less troops but proportioned correctly) and the ‘landings’ as a bridge crossing.  The later ‘Third Wave’ historically landed on another beach closer to the action so on a ford in the stream, but in the game these were delayed (by dice rolls) and ultimately were not needed (spoiler!) 

The Right Wing consisting of the 1st, 49th (in my green-stuff grey greatcoats), and 100th Foot regiments along with a contingents of light troops formed up and marched straight at the Kentucky Militiamen arrayed along the stone and wood fences.  While inexperienced soldiers, the Americans historically produced a lot of firepower which I gave them in this game.  They stymied the British attack before it could be pressed home.  While the Lights and the 100th made most undignified exits from the field, the 49th and 1st, despite heavy casualties rallied to the rear to redress their ranks.  

Meanwhile the ‘Second Wave’ crossing the bridge/landing were a small unit of 95th Rifles, the 41st Foot, the 100th Foot and the 2nd West India Regiment   Forming a line from left to right, The Rifles were tasked to eliminate or neutralize the American skirmishers in front of Charlestown.  The 41st deployed in front of the Redoubt took some long distance fire which served to place much caution with its commander ( this became obvious from its poor dice for ‘motivation’!) .  The 100th Foot had no such hesitations and very swiftly advanced to the American entrenchments avoiding the worst of the musket fire and quickly overwhelmed the defenders!

With the West India Regiment following, the British promised to exploit this hole in the middle of the American position.

While this battle winning attack was conducted, the Right Wing, albeit severely depleted but in the spirit of the original British soldiers in the historical battle came on the American positions once again.  However, true to form, were shot up and were forced back once again.  

In the middle, reinforcements from Bunker Hill finally started to arrive (again dice rolled), one unit heroically advancing in the maelstrom despite casualties from British long range cannon. (during the AWI battle, this was from shipborne guns but I just had any rolled 1 create a stand loss).  With the seeing-off of these only troops available to plug the gap, and the troops in the Redoubt legging-it despite my ‘order’ to hold the fort! (love the dice) , the American Left Wing along the fences decided conduct an orderly withdraw.

Thus ended the 1812 version of Bunker Hill.  Rather like the first one actually.  

The British Right Wing advances

The Kentucky militiamen line the stone fence (most of the figures seen in this battle are Old Glory 28mm.  The British flags Colours are hand painted (before one can buy all those beautiful printed versions! Now I have to continue this for visual consistency)

Rather nervous looking militia holding the Redoubt

The British Left Wing readies for its assault on the American fieldworks

The 95th Rifles facing the US Rifles who are in this guise, mere militiamen

The 104th Foot advancing swiftly 

Crunch time and the battle in the balance.  The veteran British would quickly take the American works at the point of the bayonet.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Another unrecorded event…

The Bridge at Trabazos 

Long story short; I have been tasked to provide the battle narrative for an ongoing Napoleonic campaign - in other words, play out the battles with miniatures.

The Anglo-Portuguese commander wants the bridge destroyed, the French commander expects to deploy north of the town getting there via the bridge over the Druro River as part of a larger Peninsular War fictional battle.

Not really having the ‘proper’ troops for this engagement, I went small scale by using my ~40mm Flintloque figures to play out this portion of the battle as a very minor skirmish.

I gave the French two fine “companies” of infantry to approach the bridge while the British Engineers prepare to blow it up.  Each turn the Engineers roll a d6 until 16 is reached and it will be wired for detonation (and upon a die roll, of course!)

Defending the Engineers are a ‘company’ of the 9th Foot of the 5th Division. While a veteran regiment, the Captain is a martinet hated by the ranks. (a bad roll for his ‘personality’)  Alone in an isolated village away from the army commanded by an officer who had no idea what he was doing, with the temptation for loot and discovery of drink it was too much for the soldiers who, despite the efforts of their sergeant, left their post by degrees.  However the captain, excited by his first meeting of the Napoleon’s army (he had purchased his position and had absolutely no military experience), did not realize about the desertions.

The 'martinet' of the 9th. Note the sergeant with the halberd to the left of the officer already turned around to chase after the would be looters. 

However some defence of the town came from a small band of Guerrillas defending their homes who were of sterner stuff and fired upon the first company of French halting them and mortally wounding their officer.  This confident action (rolling 12(!) for activation) and subsequent roll of 6, activated a small contingent of Portuguese.

The  "Portuguese" 

Early in the action showing the French. The 9th Foot is across the river, the British Engineers on the bridge.

Meanwhile, as the French advanced, the 9th’s Captain marvelled at the French Colonel’s uniform and his flowing hair astride his charger galloping on the bridge in the glory of war. “Fire!” he yelled.  The loud percussion he expected was met with silence. 

Now, sir?” was the only sound. The single trooper left with him looked up from his knelling position in a questioning frown.

The Guerrillas switched focus to the stagnant first company to the company lead by the mounted officer, but these French did not react to the resulting casualties. Ensconced behind a shielding wall, the raw soldiers of Portuguese remained in place and unwilling to engage in gunfire. But the large Engineer sergeant, a huge Irishman, declared to the oncoming French officer, “You be not stopping us you Froggie bastard!” and using a rusted shovel as a club, engaged with the Frenchman.  Seeing the following French soldiers, he looked over his shoulder and exclaimed, “Work faster!” to his fellow engineers.(my dice rolls were good but still 1 short!)

The Engineer sergeant on the bridge

Alas, his heroism was in vain, the horse evaded the shovel and a well-placed sabre met his brains. A following French soldier toppled an engineer into the water below and another used his hanger blade to cut the cords to the barrels of artillery powder suspended under the bridge. The Guerrillas and Portuguese then melted away.

Of course this story will never make it into the history books.  All that may indeed be mentioned is…the French IV Corps, 1st Division crossed over the Druro and deployed north of Trabazos…. 

Actually my "Calabrese Legion" troops.  Converted from Flintloque figures into something resembling the proper Napoleonic War troops..sort of... Full of 'character' they are.  ~40mm scale (ish). So outrageously cartoonish as to be cute.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

No ordinary evening, WaT with The Wife!

So we were having a nice dinner when my wife says “I know I suggested we could play cards tonight but let’s play a wargame”

I sputtered, bits of food came out of the mouth, my jaw remained slack, my brain unable to compute. I just stared at her in numb confusion. 

“Yes, really” she merely confirmed.  “But something simple.  I don’t want to spend the entire night for you setting it up.”, she said with a grin.  

The rest of the meal, I was trying to think of simple rules, simple scenario, easy set up. After finally settling on the game and stating so, she says,”Perhaps What a Tanker?”  I had not even thought of THAT one!  Brilliant suggestion. I then had an inner voice debate on how the heck she came up with that.  I thought she never listened to me as I rambled on……

Dishes cleared, I put down my ashen snow mat and a couple of terrain pieces on the table.  “Dictatorial Fascist German or Dictatorial Communist Russian?”, I ask her.  So I brought out a nice Pzkw III for her, and a rather poorer T-26 for myself.  

To compensate for her confusion about which dice are for which action, her dice rolling was very good as each turn’s rolls usually had a good combination including the always useful ‘6’ Wild.   While a bit frustrated with the jargon (“Two d six? You just said I need a seven!”)  she began to be more tactically aggressive. “Yes, I want to shoot you from the flank.  Better yes?” she would state.  “But if you do not roll high enough to reach that position, you will need to turn your Wild to a Move dice thereby not able to change it into a Reload for another shot at me”, I dutifully explain. “I will do it anyway”, she firmly confirms as she then rolls 11 on the dice gaining the position easily; fires her two shots into my side causing my Command Dice to run out and thus my crew legs it, abandoning the shot ridden Russian hunk of junk.  

Earlier in the contest, my poor T-26 had a nice flank shot but....couldn't roll enough for it.  The Wife had no problems with the dice or Command.